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Tuning In Over Scrolling Through

Tuning In Over Scrolling Through: The Case for Podcasts in Children's Development

Mrs. Noor Ayesha Founder, Vice-Chairperson & Managing Director of IQRA International School

In the digital age, the debate around screen time for children has never been more pertinent. As the founder of an international islamic school and a parent to two young sons, I have navigated the vast ocean of digital content, seeking those that entertain and educate. My personal journey with my family, particularly with my husband introducing our sons to podcasts during their daily commute to school, has been transformative. Witnessing their transition from passive consumption of mindless YouTube cartoons to active engagement with meaningful and educational podcasts has strengthened my conviction in the efficacy of auditory learning. This shift has not only been heartening but also eye-opening, revealing the myriad benefits podcasts offer over traditional screen time.

Let’s explore why podcasts are a healthier, more enriching alternative for our children.

Fostering Imagination and Creativity

Podcasts, by their very nature, encourage listeners to create their own visuals in the mind’s eye, rather than providing them ready-made. This process of imagination has been incredibly evident in my own children, who seem more creatively engaged and are more likely to embark on imaginative play following a podcast session compared to times spent in front of the screen.

Enhancing Listening Skills and Concentration

The transformation in my sons’ ability to listen attentively and focus for longer periods has been remarkable. Unlike the fleeting attention spans they exhibited during screen time, podcasts have encouraged a deeper level of engagement. Research supports this observation, suggesting that audio stimuli, like podcasts, require and thus train the brain in sustained attention and listening skills, crucial competencies in academic and personal success.

Expanding Knowledge and Interests

The broad range of topics covered by podcasts has piqued my children’s interest in subjects beyond their grade level, from astronomy to zoology. They often share fascinating facts learned from a podcast, sparking family conversations and further research. This echoes findings that children exposed to educational content through audio are more likely to seek additional information, demonstrating a proactive learning attitude.

Encouraging Family Bonding and Social Skills

Our family’s podcast time has become a cherished routine, promoting not just learning but also laughter, discussion, and debate. This shared experience has improved our children’s communication skills and emotional intelligence, showcasing the social benefits of podcast listening over isolated screen time.

Reducing Screen Time and Its Associated Risks

Switching to podcasts has naturally reduced my sons’ screen time, alleviating concerns over eye strain, disrupted sleep patterns, and sedentary behavior. The health benefits of this switch are backed by numerous studies highlighting the adverse effects of excessive screen use in children.

Educational Podcast Recommendations

For children aged 5 to 14, here are some enriching educational podcast suggestions:

Wow in the World: Exploring scientific wonders and new discoveries in a fun and accessible way.

Brains On! A science podcast that encourages curiosity, featuring a different kid co-host each week.

Smash Boom Best is a funny, smart debate show for kids and families.

⁠But Why: A podcast where curious kids ask intriguing questions, and experts answer.

Islamic Podcasts for Kids

For families seeking content with Islamic values, these podcasts can be both educational and spiritually enriching:

⁠Once Upon a Crescent: A collection of Islamic bedtime stories for children, infused with morals and values.

Join Taqwa to hear how Zakat can totally change the way all of us think about money, and how we belong to our communities.

Take a journey through the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ with stories from the Seerah with this lively and engaging podcast.

7 Stories is a podcast for your ride to school. These highly produced 7 minute stories are sure to keep your kids engaged while in the car!


Reflecting on my personal experience, witnessing my sons blossom into more attentive, curious, and imaginative individuals through their engagement with podcasts, fills me with profound joy. Podcasts not only offer a meaningful alternative to screen time but also provide numerous developmental benefits, supporting our children’s growth into well-rounded individuals.

Moreover, the benefits extend beyond the confines of our home and classroom. A once boring drive with bored and irritated kids has transformed into a peaceful and engaging experience as we listen to podcasts together. Gone are the days of tussles and arguments to trade screen time for something more productive, as my sons now eagerly choose podcasts without a fuss.

As we navigate the digital age, let us prioritize content that enriches and educates, turning to podcasts as a valuable resource in our children’s learning journey. Let us do our best and entrust the rest in HIS hands.